VES Awards Rules, Procedures and Policies2019-11-26T16:56:04-08:00

Welcome to the 18th Annual VES Awards

Dear VES Awards Submitters:

We at the VES are very gratified by the positive reception that the VES Awards continue to receive from our community. Our aim is to keep the Awards fair, meaningful, and open to as many artistic specialties as possible while at the same time being responsive to trends in our field and address concerns of our members.

New Category

On that score we announce with great pleasure the introduction of a new category, category #24 – Outstanding Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal Project. We introduced this category after careful consideration and discussion with prominent members of the Special Effects community.

Even as we introduced this new category, we kept the requirement to enter the Special Effects Coordinator/Supervisor in the 5th slot in six of the eight general categories. Please remember to include the SFX Supervisor (where applicable) when submitting an entry. We took this action because not all submitters will want to enter category 24.

Inclusion of Animation in Four Categories
At the urging of animation industry leaders and after considerable study by the Awards Committee, animation projects now will be eligible to compete in Category #16 – Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project. This decision reflects industry trends where live action and animation production are blending. Additionally, in recognition of the legions of compositors working in animation, animation compositors will now be eligible to compete in all compositing categories (cats. #21 through 23).

We made some minor changes in the definitions of several categories and therefore urge you to read the definitions carefully if you plan to enter one of these categories.

Tail Slate
One other change we want you to be aware of: We now require a VES Tail Slate on all entries. The tail slate (an upside-down version of your VES Head Slate) needs to be attached to all viewing clips. Tail slates will be generated automatically when you make your submission. Please see the heading Upload Order in the Rules & Procedures for each category for details.

We kept the format of the Rules & Procedures (R&Ps) the same so that you can quickly find and access all the information you need to make a submission in any category from within that category’s “home” page. Short summaries are available on each category page, along with “Click for details” links which will open up the full instructions for that section. Everything you need to know to prepare an entry can be found with a click on the Category page you are interested in.

The cost of submission remains at $460.00 per entry.

Please remember that only ONE submission per project is allowed in the General Categories (categories 1 through 8). If more than one facility wishes to make a submission for a given project, they must coordinate their submission through either the overall VFX Supervisor or overall VFX Producer to submit a joint entry. Only in broadcast or streaming categories are multiple submissions allowed under limited circumstances.

Although there is no longer a requirement to submit printed copies of written supplemental material we still encourage entrants to submit optional PDFs of written supplemental material for posting to the View & Vote site.

And finally, the date of the 18th Annual VES Awards show is January 29, 2020! We hope to see you there.

Address your questions, if any, to,


Each category below will take you to a description of the page, with all the instructions needed in the “details” sections.

Category 1: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
Category 2: Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
Category 3: Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature
Category 4: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode
Category 5: Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode
Category 6: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project
Category 7: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
Category 8: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Category 9: Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature
Category 10: Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature
Category 11: Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project
Category 12: Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial
Category 13: Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature
Category 14: Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature
Category 15: Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project
Category 16: Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project
Category 17: Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project
Category 18: Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature
Category 19: Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature
Category 20: Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project
Category 21: Outstanding Compositing in a Feature
Category 22: Outstanding Compositing in an Episode
Category 23: Outstanding Compositing in a Commercial
Category 24: Outstanding Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal Project
Category 25: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project


Before submitting an entry, please read through the entire Rules and Procedures for your Category, and then click the link “Submit An Entry” on the Category page or here: Submit An Entry


Just a few reminders:

  • Any project that premiered anywhere in the world in 2019 and that meets the criteria of the VES Awards may be entered
  • The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 11:59PM PST
  • You must upload your viewing materials and optional supplemental written material (if any) between November 4 and November 26, 2019
  • If your project premieres after the November 26 deadline, you must complete a Submission Form, pay the entry fee by the deadline, and submit a Petition stating the facts concerning the delayed release date. If the Petition is granted, viewing materials must then be submitted at the earliest practicable date, but in no event later than December 20, 2019 except for projects with a release or air date later than December 15
  • Use the Petition Committee button on the submission form to submit a petition
  • Unavailability of personnel to prepare submission materials in time to meet the entry deadline is not a valid reason to be granted a deadline extension
  • The Awards Committee does not give advice prior to vetting on which category an entry should be submitted in. When it is unclear which category a submission is properly eligible for, use your best judgment based on category definitions and submit entries accordingly. If, during vetting, the Awards Committee determines that the entry is in the wrong category, the Committee will discuss the matter with you and give you the options of 1). Revising it to better fit the category, 2). Moving the entry to a more suitable category, or 3). Withdrawing the entry.
  • It is the policy of the VES Awards that Special (Practical) Effects Coordinators/Supervisors be recognized for their work when the special effects contributed significantly to the overall visual impact of a production. Accordingly, the Special Effects Coordinator/Supervisor must be named in all but two General Categories when the contributions of the special effects are a prominent part of the project. Therefore a fifth nominee spot is set aside exclusively for the Special Effects Coordinator/Supervisor. Should one not be entered, this spot will remain vacant.


Questions about these Awards should be directed to

Technical questions about submitting should be directed to

SohoNet Support
SohoNet provides a 24/7 support operation for all aspects of the electronic submission process:
For general inquiries and non-urgent problems, send an email to The subject line should begin with VES. Please provide a contact phone number and time zone/hours when you will be available.
For urgent issues on uploading, please call one of the following 24/7 support lines, making clear that you are calling about the VES electronic submission process.
Please have your submission number available when calling.

  • USA: +1.310.449.8610
  • UK: +
  • Australia: 1800 77 5280
  • New Zealand: (+64) 0800 00 5658

VES Awards Policies

The VES Awards Policies contain the technical details used by the Awards Committee to govern the VES Awards process. Feel free to browse the sections below:

It is the spirit and intent of the VES awards to honor not only VFX artists, but also members of the management team that are primarily responsible for accomplishing the work that we honor. For this reason it is a fundamental policy of the VES that both the overall project VFX Supervisor and VFX Producer (or their equivalents in the gaming and animation sectors, respectively) shall be named as the first two entrants in any General Category entry. They are considered key personnel. No substitutions will be allowed for either of these positions. In the absence of either of these individuals on the project, no other individual may be nominated in their place and their spot on the entry shall remain vacant.

The choice of the other two individuals who may be named in a General Category entry is at the discretion of the VFX Supervisor or VFX Producer. There is no requirement to name additional people. However, any additional individuals being named must have personally contributed significantly to the visual effects of the project in a creative or technical role. This should include the Special Effects Coordinator when the special effects made a particularly significant contribution to the visual effects of a project. A fifth entrant slot is reserved exclusively for the Special Effects Coordinator/supervisor when the special effects played a particularly significant role in the visuals of the project.

Facility (in-house) VFX Supervisors and VFX Producers are not considered ‘Key VFX Personnel’ within the meaning of these Awards unless they were also the project’s overall VFX Supervisor and VFX Producer. However, they would be eligible to be entered as one of the two additional entrants in a General Category at the discretion of the overall VFX Supervisor or VFX Producer.

Executive Producers or management personnel of facilities are not eligible in any category unless they can demonstrate by petition that they personally played a significant hands-on role in the creation of an entry that went over and above their normal duties within the facility or production.

Entries may be submitted by:

  • The VFX Producer The VFX Supervisor
  • The project’s Producer(s)
  • The project’s Director
  • Any individual who meets the eligibility requirements specific to each category
  • Studios, production companies, and visual effects facilities may make a submission on behalf of anyone listed above
  • Next of kin may make a submission on behalf of a disabled or deceased relative

The VES does not provide guidance on which category a project should enter. When it is unclear which category a submission is properly eligible for, entrants should use their best judgment, submit a Submission Form and pay the entry fee. If, during vetting, the Awards Committee questions the choice of category, the Committee will discuss the matter with the submitter and may direct the entry to be moved into a category where it is eligible. The VFX Supervisor or VFX Producer (or their respective equivalents in the animation or gaming fields) shall then have the discretion to move the entry per the Committee’s request, modify it to meet the criteria of the category, or withdraw the entry.

Signatures are required on the Submission Form from two or three individuals, depending on the entry. The signature of two individuals is required when an entry is submitted directly by a production’s own visual effects department, or by an independent artist not working for a facility. In these cases signatures are required from the person completing the submission form (the Submitter) and either the overall VFX Supervisor or VFX Producer of the project.

A third signature is required when the work being submitted was created by a facility that performed the work for a production company. In that case, the signature of a member of the facility’s management is required.

By signing the form, these individuals agree to abide by the rules of the Awards and attest to the accuracy of the information supplied and the eligibility of the entrants named on the submission. Further, by signing the Submission Form, the overall VFX Supervisor or VFX Producer declare that they have the authority to resolve any disputes arising from the choice of entrants named on the submission. This provides an opportunity for facilities and entrants to be fully aware of and to resolve any conflicts and errors BEFORE submitting an entry. Entrants and submitters agree to hold the VES free of any liability in case of disputes arising from an entry.

The VES will not arbitrate disputes concerning who deserves to be named on an entry. However, the VES reserves the right to verify the qualifications of an entrant if it has reason to believe that the entrant is ineligible. If an entrant is found to be ineligible on the basis of credible information, he or she may be disqualified by the Awards Committee at any stage of the awards process up to the presentation of awards. Submission forms must be physically signed by the submitters. Electronic signatures are not acceptable.

All financial transactions are handled by the VES Office. Please address your inquiries to

As a general rule, no refunds will be given except when a category is eliminated in its entirety, or in case of an error on the part of the VES Office or the Awards Committee that causes an entry to be lost or disqualified through no fault of the submitter.

Refunds will specifically not be given for:

  • Late receipt of entry materials
  • Submission of faulty viewing materials
  • Voluntary withdrawal of an entry
  • Failure to make timely corrections to an entry after having been advised by the Committee of a problem entry

A submitting organization may voluntarily choose to withdraw an entry at its discretion. No entry fee refunds shall be given in these situations.

Viewing Materials

The Awards Committee screens all viewing materials in their entirety to confirm that the submission meets entry requirements. When an entry is found to have a problem, the Committee will advise the entrant via e-mail of the problem and give the entrant a deadline for making the required corrections. If the corrections are not made in a timely manner the entry may be disqualified.

Entrant Eligibility

The VES does not determine who should be named on an entry. It is up to the submitting organization to name the entrants. Artists who feel that they deserve to be entered on a submission should discuss the matter with the submitting organization at the earliest opportunity. If a question concerning an entrant’s eligibility arises based on his or her true function and/or length of service on a project, the VES Awards Committee will verify the individual’s actual role. If, after due investigation, the Committee finds that the role of the individual in question is not in conformity with the eligibility rules of a given category, the entrant may be disqualified at any stage of the awards process up to the presentation of awards.

Project Eligibility

If a question of a project’s eligibility arises, based on premiere date, type of production (for example, whether a broadcast program is part of a series or a Special), or any other valid reason, the VES Awards Committee will verify the project’s details. If the Committee finds that the production in question is not in conformity with the eligibility rules, the project may be disqualified. Corporate IDs or marks and company logos of the company or companies or individuals involved in the production of any entry may not appear in viewing or written materials. Violation of this policy may lead to the disqualification of the entry.

Nominating Criteria

SUBMISSIONS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR AN AWARD ONLY IF THE WORK MERITS AN AWARD BASED ON CURRENT STANDARDS OF THE INDUSTRY as determined by the judging panels. Nomination judging panelists may choose not to bestow a nomination in a category should they determine the work submitted not to be worthy of a nomination in their expert and qualified opinion. The decisions of judging panels are final.

Peer judging panels screen all qualified entries in their respective categories and may nominate a up to five entries in categories 1 through 8 and up to four entries in all other categories. Voting shall be by secret ballot.

Nominations balloting occurs in two phases:

  • After all entries in a category have been screened, the nominating panel shall hold an open vote to determine whether the category merits an award. A majority vote shall be required.
  • Assuming that this vote is affirmative, judges shall then cast a secret ballot to determine the nominees.


The guiding policy for the number of nominees is that there shall not be more than five nominated entries under any circumstances. Therefore, ties for the last place in the nominations voting shall be resolved as follows:

  • In case of a two-way tie in categories with a maximum of four entries (Specific Arts categories), both entries shall be nominated without further voting, for a total of five nominations.
  • In case of a two-way tie in categories with a maximum of five entries (General categories), the nominating panel shall be given a new ballot listing only the tied submissions and hold a revote until the tie is resolved. The entry receiving the most votes will become the fifth nominee.
  • In case of a three- or four-way tie for the last entry in any one category, the nominating panel shall be given a new ballot listing only the tied submissions and hold a revote until the tie is resolved. Following the revote, the five entries (or four in categories limited to four entries) receiving the highest number of votes will become official nominees.

Categories with Only a Single Entry

If there is only one entry in a category in any given year, the peer judging panel must vote that the entry is worthy of a nomination by a two-thirds (2/3) majority. The vote shall be open, and votes shall be counted and recorded by the room monitor. Should the lone entry not get a two-thirds majority vote, then the category will be eliminated from the Awards for the current year, and the entry fee shall be refunded to the submitter. (Please see SECTION 9: FINAL VOTING, for more information on how the vote for a category with a single entry is handled.)

Elimination of Categories

Any category that has three or fewer valid submissions for two successive years will be reviewed by the Awards Committee and considered for elimination from the awards until such time that the Committee sees strong evidence of sufficient interest in the category to revive it.

Peer Judging Panels

The VES utilizes qualified peer judging panels to screen all submissions to determine the nominees in each category.

Judges are assigned to evaluate and vote on entries in their areas of expertise. All judges are screened for conflicts of interest. However, it is up to each judge to notify the Awards Committee of any potential conflicts of interest at the time of the judging.

Judges are sought out in the fall of each year. Only VES members in good standing may serve on judging panels.

The qualifications for serving on a specific panel include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Judges must have a level of expertise in the category being judged
  • Judges must not have a conflict of interest in the category they are judging. A ‘conflict of interest’ exists when a judge personally worked on a project being considered by the panel to which he or she is assigned. However, it is permissible for a judge to be an employee of the facility that created the work under consideration as long as he or she did not personally work on the project. In the event of a conflict of interest, a judge is required to notify a member of the VES Awards Committee and must recuse him- or herself from voting on any entry in that category and is strictly forbidden from attempting to influence the vote of others.

Room Monitors

Every nominating panel is to be assisted by a member of the VES Awards Committee who shall act as room monitor. Room monitors shall read the category definitions to nominating panels before showing the entries, interpret the rules, and answer questions posed by panelists. However, room monitors may not express opinions on the merits of entries and are prohibited from casting votes.

Under specific circumstances, an entrant may petition the Awards Committee for an exception to the rules. These circumstances are limited to:

  • Substitution of one entrant or nominee’s name for another in a challenge after nominations are announced
  • Change in an entrant/nominees’ job description or credit
  • Entering an artist in a craft category normally off-limits to that individual
  • Withdrawing a submission
  • Request to extend a submission’s deadline when circumstances leading to the request are beyond a submitter’s control.
    NOTE: Unavailability of personnel to prepare submission materials in time to meet the entry deadline is not sufficient cause to petition for a deadline extension
  • Petitions must be in writing and the petitioner must have a valid submission (entry) number before submitting a petition
  • A petition must make a clear, compelling and factual case for why it should be granted. The Awards Committee will then vet the claims being made, and if found to be valid, may make an exception to the rule at its sole discretion
  • The Committee reserves the right to ask for additional evidence or details when a petitioner’s request lacks sufficient information for the Committee to make a fair and impartial decision
  • Petition forms are available on the entrant’s individual submission page at

The Awards Committee reserves the right to question, review and/or ask any individual who is part of a submission or has made a submission on the behalf of others to the current awards program for further information and facts. Should this information not be forthcoming in a timely manner, the submission or individual may be disqualified.

The Visual Effects Awards Committee and its members serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors of the VES. Therefore the manner in which the Awards process is run, and all decisions that the Awards Committee makes, are subject to review and revision by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the VES.

Final voting takes place via the Internet on a secure website. All VES members in good standing as of January 1, 2019, may vote in the Awards.

Voting invitations are sent out prior to the start of online voting to the member’s email address on file with the VES office as of January 1, 2020. This invitation contains a unique encrypted link that a voter must use to access the VES Online View and Vote System. It is the member’s responsibility to insure that their valid e mail address is listed with the VES. 

The VES Online View and Vote System will be available at 12:00 AM PST on January 13, 2020 and will close at 11:59 PM PST on January 23, 2020.

The VES office will send all members information on how to view the material and cast their votes online. If you have not received this information and instructions for voting by January 13, 2020, please contact the VES office for further directions. It is the member’s responsibility to contact the VES office in the event instructions are not received.

Members will be able to view nominated entries in each category on an Internet-capable computer prior to voting, using secure media formats and procedures served by a secure web server.

The online materials are to serve as reminders and demonstrations of the steps involved in creating the visual effects shots. Whenever possible, VES members should view entries in the context or venues for which they were produced, i.e., films in a movie theater, HD programs in High Definition, etc. Members are at liberty to abstain from voting on submissions that they feel uncertain about or have not seen.

Categories with Only a Single Qualified Entry

In the event that a category has only one (-1-) nominated entry, a simple majority of the members who voted in that category during the View & Vote shall be required in order to bestow an award on that lone nominee. For example, if 200 members vote in a category with a single nominee in it, a majority of 101 votes for the nominee is required for that nominee to be honored with the award.

Award winners will be announced at the annual VES Awards Event (January 29, 2020). The VES Award will be presented to the individual(s) listed on each entry’s official Submission Form.

Categories are limited to either four or five individuals who may receive an award for a single category. The number depends on the category in question. All General Categories except categories 3 and 6 may have as many as five nominees, the fifth spot being reserved exclusively for the Special (Practical) Effects Coordinator/Supervisor. All Specific Arts Categories are limited to four nominees only.

A nominee or the nominee’s family may appoint a designee to accept the VES Award, should he or she not be able to attend the Awards Event. The nominee or his/her appointed representative should advise the VES Awards Committee if he or she will not be able to attend the Awards Event.

Individual nominees on an entry may withdraw themselves, but the entry and/or nomination will stand as long as at least one team member remains.

To withdraw an entire entry at any step of the nominating process, the Submitter must send a petition to to request the withdrawal and stating the reason for withdrawing.

Changes in Entrants

Name changes may be made at the discretion of the submitter up until the date of the Nominating Event.

The VES does not take a position on who should be named in a submission as long as an entrant is eligible per the Rules & Procedures. Choice of entrants is the responsibility of the submitting organization.

Submitters wishing to make a change in entrants must go to and log onto their original online submission form using the username and password issued at the time of submission. They may then make the desired name substitution in entrants and click “Submit” to complete the change.

No name changes will be accepted after the Nominating Event on January 4, 2020 except in case of a legitimate challenge.

Challenges to Nominations

Challenges may be made only by an individual who would be personally affected by the outcome of the challenge. No proxy challenges will be allowed.

In the event of a challenge to a nominated individual after nominations have been made public, the challenger shall first contact the Submitter and the two parties shall attempt to settle the dispute. The Challenger shall, at the same time, advise the VES Awards Committee in writing of the challenge. Challenges must be made no later than January 13, 2020 and must be resolved no later than January 21, 2020. Both parties to the challenge shall keep the VES Awards Committee informed of their progress.

If the Submitter agrees to make a change, the Submitter shall send a petition to the VES to, citing the reasons for the change and indicating the name(s) of the individuals being changed. Challenges not resolved within the stated two-week window shall result in the nominations remaining as originally publicized.

In the case of challenged nominations, substitutions MUST be approved by the overall VFX Supervisor or the overall VFX Producer of record. Only they have the authority to settle challenges.

The Awards Committee will consider the petition and if the request for the substitution is found to have merit, the Awards Committee will advise the concerned parties of its decision. The VES Awards Committee reserves the right to review any name substitutions and may act upon requests for name substitutions at its sole discretion.

UNDER EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES, should the parties involved feel that the Awards Committee decision is unjust, they may appeal the decision to the Executive Committee of the VES. However, by doing so the entire category will be pulled from the awards until such time as the Executive Committee delivers a decision. As the Awards Program runs on a very tight deadline this may mean that the winners will be announced sometime after the Awards event itself.

The VES is not responsible for failure on the media’s part to honor any name changes it grants, nor is it responsible for misspellings or any other incorrect information the press may report.

Press releases are issued to the media after the Nominating Event and again after the Awards are presented, listing all nominees and winners, respectively. The order that project names are listed in is determined randomly prior to the nominating event and follows the order in which entries appear on the nominating ballot.

The listing order of individual names on a nomination is determined by and follows exactly the order in which the names are listed on the entry form. Please be sure to list them correctly at the time of submission.

It is the submitter’s responsibility to assure that all names and job titles on a submission are correct.

The VES Award (Statuette) is the property of the VES. All rights are reserved by the VES.

The VES Award may not be reproduced or used in any commercial manner unless specifically authorized or permitted by the VES in advance and in writing, it being understood that possession of the Award is solely for the benefit of the recipient and the recipient’s heirs or successors in interest.

The VES Award may not be sold. If a recipient or the recipient’s heirs or successors in interest propose to sell or otherwise dispose of the VES Award, such persons shall return the Award to the VES, which will retain the Award in storage in memory of the recipient.

Should your award be damaged or destroyed, please contact the VES office for information on repair or replacement. If the award was destroyed, you must provide proof of loss.

All materials submitted to the VES awards program will be considered cleared only for the following uses:

  • Screening by the VES staff for the purposes of vetting a submission
  • Screening by the nominating panels, and associated personnel for the purposes of nominating the work submitted,
  • Screening by eligible VES members for purposes of selecting the outstanding achievement in each category,
  • Screening by the VES members and their guests at the VES Awards Ceremony,
  • Archival purposes.

In the event that any other uses may be required, the VES will obtain the required rights and permissions from the copyright owner and/or distributor of the material.

The person submitting the ‘materials’ shall, if nominated for an award, exercise best efforts to assist the VES in obtaining, without charge to the VES, a license to use excerpts from the submitted film or broadcast program, which illustrates the nominated materials, in the VES Awards Show for domestic and international uses.

Nomination Certificates are provided to all nominees.

Commemorative VES Awards may be purchased for:

  • The facility at which the awarded work was created. In the event that multiple facilities created the awarded work, a maximum of four facilities may be eligible to purchase a commemorative award. Only facilities that directly created the awarded work are eligible. Commemorative statuettes may not be purchased on behalf of or presented as gifts to other facilities.
  • The facilities selected to purchase the physical award must be:
    • Submitted by the project’s VFX Supervisor and/or VFX Producer
    • Vetted by the VES office, and
    • Approved by the VES Awards Committee
  • The production company that produced the project containing the awarded work
  • In the case of commercials, the advertising agency under whose creative direction the awarded work was accomplished
  • The network on which the project containing the awarded work was premiered
  • The studio that distributed the project containing the awarded work

The facility, production company, advertising agency, network and studio are only entitled to one commemorative award each per category in which the work was awarded. Commemorative VES Awards may not be ordered for individuals. 

The plaque on the commemorative physical award will read exactly as awarded. No name substitutions or additions are allowed.

The words, “Facility Copy” will be added to the awards and the letter “C” will be placed before the serial number to identify it as a copy of the actual award.

The Awards Committee permits promotional screeners – including commercially released Blu-rays and DVDs that may have ‘Extra Features’ on them – to be sent by studios to the VES membership.

Screening materials may not contain direct appeals for votes in any VES Awards categories.

Please see the Categories for a complete list of General and Specific Arts Categories.